Canadian Wildlife Service

The Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) is a directorate of Environment Canada. In 1917 the Migratory Birds Convention Act gave the federal government responsibility for protecting and managing migratory birds in Canada. In 1947 the small unit within the Department of the Interior given responsibility for this area was expanded into the Dominion Wildlife Service (renamed the Canadian Wildlife Service in 1950). Today the Canadian Wildlife Service is responsible for the implementation of the Canada Wildlife Act; the Species at Risk Act; the Migratory Birds Convention Act; and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (for the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES).

The CWS focuses on 3 key areas reflecting its legislative mandate: migratory birds, species at risk and habitat. It undertakes a number of key activities to fulfill its mandate including, but not limited to, policy and regulation development, implementation of CONSERVATION partnership programs, species at risk protection and recovery planning, wetlands and other habitat monitoring, and wildlife permitting.

More than 50 national wildlife areas have been established under the Canada Wildlife Act to protect wildlife habitat and more than 90 nesting areas for migratory birds have been declared sanctuaries (seeBIRD SANCTUARIES AND RESERVES). CWS also conducts various migratory bird monitoring programs, establishes hunting regulations for migratory birds and leads the development of recovery planning for terrestrial species at risk in Canada (seeCOMMITTEE ON THE STATUS OF ENDANGERED WILDLIFE.

See alsoWILDLIFE CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT; WILDLIFE PRESERVE.